Every day, students use numerous products made of plastic. This kit introduces the structures and properties of the polymer molecules that make up all plastics. Students first investigate the properties of a linear polymer found in white glue, and then add a cross-linker to explore the properties of the resulting cross-linked polymer. They then use paper clip models to investigate the molecular structures of monomers, polymers, and cross-linked polymers, and explore how their structural differences alter the properties of the molecules. Developed by SEPUP.
2 120-mL bottles of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)
2 30-mL bottles of 4% sodium borate solution
1 15-mL bottle of blue food coloring
16 3.25-oz. clear plastic cups
16 stir sticks
32 graduated cups
384 paper clips (all the same size)
48 colored paper clips
8 60-mL wide-mouth bottles
32 Student Worksheet and Guide
32 Data Charts: Some Common Plastics and Synthetic Fibers
1 Teacher's Guide
To complete this kit requires one to two ~50-minute class periods.